“Dad, why is school so boring?”

Is it that bad, kid?

Yes Dad, it’s awful. I can’t wait for schooldays to be over.

Why is that, kiddo?

The subjects are just not interesting. I sit in class trying to keep myself awake most of the time.

That’s not good. I don’t envy you. But I don’t think that the real reason is the choice of subjects.

I think it is the METHOD that is wrong.

bored_students_0

What method?

Let me explain. You are learning about World War II history these days – right?

Yes.

And they ask you to remember so many details about it.

Yes, it takes forever to memorize all of it.

And I bet you’ll forget almost everything the day after the test.

Probably.

So, I think that the real reason you are not interested in this fascinating period in history is because of the WAY it is presented to you. If your teacher presented you the sequence of events as a story with one event leading to another and with logical explanations of the reasons and causes that led them to happen – memorizing it will be a much easier task.

For example, if you really understood WHY and HOW Hitler got to power in Germany and what kind of ideas transformed a whole nation to a group of mass murderers, you would never forget it and potentially draw important conclusions about man’s nature.

I think you’re right. It is easier for me to remember stuff I understand.

I also think that if the teacher would ask you to guess what happened next and then analyze what really happened and why, you could develop a deeper understanding of what shapes history and maybe what will shape the future.

So you see kid, it is a matter of METHOD. Unfortunately, the method they use in your school doesn’t make you truly understand and doesn’t keep you motivated.

Why is that, Dad?

It is how our minds work. Your mind is striving to think, to understand and to integrate many events into underlying concepts or principles. This is called INDUCTION or INTEGRATION.

integration (1)

You cannot hold hundreds of disjoint events in your mind without reducing them into an integrated sequence that makes sense.

This is true for other subjects like math – it would be more effective focusing on understanding the PRINCIPLES better rather than giving you 100 exercises of the same subject, thinking you’ll learn by repetition.

I agree. It is just a waste of time, yet I get those kind of exercises for homework almost every day.

Did I tell you that I don’t envy you?

Yes you did… So why don’t they improve it and make it more interesting?

Sadly, most of the school system today is run by the government. It is a monopoly that stifles competition and thus innovation.

Maybe Mom and I should start saving and move you to a private school next year.

Maybe you should.

Maybe. I just need to decide if your education is more important than this new car I want to buy.

What??

Just kidding, kid. You gave me something to think about.

You did too Dad.

Good night little thinker.

Good night big thinker.

Ken Robinson’s view on Education



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